Review: Canton Tea Co. Superior Earl Grey

Bergamot Tea, Black Tea, Canton Tea Co., Darjeeling Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Orange Blossom Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Aside from the slight dryness, it was a good Darjeeling. I'm hard-pressed to call it an Earl Grey, though. Earl Darj or Raj Grey, maybe?"
Geoff’s Teaview: 7.5/10
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Canton Tea Co. is usually known for supplying artisan Chinese teas. When the opportunity came to try their variation on an old British hat, I jumped at the chance. Their Superior Earl Grey is blended with two single estate Darjeeling teas harvested during the late summer, prior to the autumnal flush. This "in-between" flush is known as a "monsoon flush", due to the mini-harvest falling on the rainy period. Rounding out this blend are the titular bergamot oil scenting and - for visual appeal - orange blossoms. Although, I'm convinced that the botanical inclusion contributed something.

To the nose, it smelled a shy bit different from the average Earl. Part of this could be the different type of base. The Darjeeling blend provided a spicy finish to the usual bold, citrus-sour bits. And while orange blossoms substituted cornflower for the aesthetic element, I'm sure they had something to do with the added tartness to the aroma. There were a lot of 'em too.

Brewing instructions were fairly standard for an Earl Grey - 205F (or boiling) water - but they called for 2 tsp per 1 cup of leaves. A cup - to them - equated to 200ml. Of course, being a simple American, I had to find a conversion chart. It equated to roughly 7 ounces. That didn't sound right. However, I split the difference and went with a tablespoon in 8oz, steeped for three minutes.

And now for the biggest surprise of all. It infused to a light brown infusion, but the steam wasn't the usual bergamot scent one would come to expect from an Earl Grey. Believe it or not, the Darjeeling base dominated; all spice and malt. There was a citrus presence there, but it was reserved. The taste was slightly astringent and sour on the forefront, settled into a malty middle, and ended with a spicy sparkle. (No, not like a certain vampire.) Aside from the slight dryness, it was a good Darjeeling. I'm hard-pressed to call it an Earl Grey, though. Earl Darj or Raj Grey, maybe? Anyway, I liked it.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Superior Earl Grey, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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